It’s a kit

As a rigorously-protected species, you can’t own a California condor. But you can build your own model of one. Here’s a look at 3 California condor kits.

Z Cardz kits are printed on a single playing-card-size piece of plastic that’s about the thickness of a credit card. The kits come in sets of 5:

This is one side of the California condor card:

I haven’t assembled mine. But here is an image of the completed kit:

I found the 2nd kit online for free. It is identified only as “Paper Craft”. The elaborate pieces are meant to be printed on heavy paper and cut out:

The instructions show this is not for a young child to assemble:

The final product is impressive (this image is from the instructions):

The accompanying paragraph of information about the natural history of California condors is unremarkable except for this sentence:

However, because of its diet consisting solely of carrion, the condor was hunted down as a bird of ill omen.

That is not a commonly-seen explanation for the condor’s population decline.

The 3rd kit was produced by Revell, a well-known manufacturer of model kits. I have a well-worn version, unassembled in its original box:

On the side of the box is this size comparison:

At first I thought the manufacturer was exaggerating the condor’s size but it’s indicated that the human is a 10-year-old, presumably the target audience fo the kit. So that is a reasonable comparison.

Assembling a car or ship from plastic pieces seems normal to me but there’s something strange about assembling a living organism this way. This is from the instructions:

The parts are all in black plastic so the assembled kit is unremarkable. But on the web I found an image of Bec De Corbin’s nicely-painted version:

A notable feature of the Revell kit is the information about the California condor printed on the instructions. Here are 2 excerpts:

In the instructions, dated 1974, the kit manufacturer credits the cooperation and assistance of the World Wildlife Fund, Los Angeles Zoo, and Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.

The 1st and 3rd kits are examples of businesses drawing on and cultivating the interest of young people in endangered species. The 3rd kit is evidence of the interest that endangered species, including the California condor, have drawn for many decades.

A previous post related to this one that is Figurines.